The New York Mets learned a valuable lesson from outfielder Jason Bay and his recent brain injury: Concussions aren’t just caused by hitting your head. And as a result, the team may change its protocol for dealing with suspected brain trauma, The New York Times reported Monday.
Last month Bay crashed at full speed into a padded wall at Dodger Stadium catching a fly ball, and he fell to the ground, injured. The ball player told his trainer that he hadn’t hit his head, but that his back and knee were hurt.
So the team didn’t make Bay get a full neurological exam, and he played in two more games. On the fight back to New York, Bay got a nagging headache.
It turns out he had sustained a concussion when he hit the wall. But that concussion was caused by Bay’s head snapping back, which made his brain hit the back of his skull. The concussion was caused by whiplash, according to The Times.
Bay is now on the DL, and it looks like his episode is going to make the Mets expand the list of conditions in which team trainers will check for neurological damage, The Times reported. So if a player takes a bad hit, even if they don’t strike their head directly, they will be checked out.
One expert, Dr. David Hovda of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, warned that the Mets may have added to Bay’s brain injury by having him play several games with his then-undiagnosed concussion.
Let’s hope Bay recovers, and that the Mets — and other pro sports teams — all learn a lesson from this incident, and realize whiplash can result in concussion.